May 21, 2009

Tortoise: "Beacons Of Ancestorship".

Post-Rock's foster family returns with another letter to their adopted subgenre, and this time around, it tells of the once-loved derelict's direct relatives and experimental visionaries in their glory days.

Originally conceived somewhere between Silver Apples' eponymous 1968 classic and Slint's brooding prog-meets-spoken word release Spiderland in 1991, Post-Rock's numerous progenitors, including the tumultuous garage rock-meets-oscillating synth drone of Silver Apples, the goofy krautrock of Faust and Neu!, the funky motorik grooviness of Can and, of course, the lush and often-rocking free-jazz of post-new wavers Talk Talk, all flash in and out of consciousness amidst the forty-five minutes of Tortoise's followup to 2004's It's All Around You, being 2009's Beacons of Ancestorship.

Like a kick in the pants to the prodigal son who took off with the family's wealth and worthiness, Beacons of Ancestorship assumes a new message to its forlorn adoptee: "I never knew the kid." Yet, the essential ingredients to the Post-Rock equation are all there, including spacey ambience and heavy percussion. So, what makes Beacons a letter of resignation to the most immobilizingly broad trash heap of all the flavors of modern experimental music? Simple - attitude.

A sharp turn from the emotionally-impacting jazz-rock and tribal aesthetic of It's All Around You, Beacons cuts a straight edge into the yet-unmolded future of experimental rock, or whatever might someday be considered "Post-Post-Rock". Its linear compositions, though sonically, invitingly improvisational, weld forever shut the gashes that bleed the Post-Rock lifeblood into ultimately thin and substance-less works of countless followers, focusing on tightly realized and melodic songs which can be taken apart from or in line with the whole.

An epic by every definition, Beacons could be the post-prog of the future, which is quite a hefty role to fill by any group aside from such a continuously cutting-edge act as Tortoise. Highlights of this charmingly atypical release include "High Class Slim Came Floatin' In", showcasing a near-perfect melding of nu-jazz and motorik percussion a la Faust; "Prepare Your Coffin" and the equally beautiful, sinister and winding "Gigantes", as well as the surprisingly masterful post-punkery of "Yinxianghechengqi". Other highlights include "The Fall of Seven Diamonds Plus One", "Monument Six One Thousand" and "Charteroak Foundation".

Beacons of Ancestorship available 6.23.09 on CD/LP/MP3 from Thrill Jockey records. Visit for more info.


>>Download "Prepare Your Coffin" from Tortoise's Beacons of Ancestorship!
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